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Football

09th Mar 2018

We’ve had to split up Liverpool’s front three for our combined XI with Manchester United

Six players from United

Darragh Murphy

If you’re a Manchester United supporter, we’re very sorry. If you’re a Liverpool supporter, we’re very sorry.

Hardcore fans of both sides involved in the biggest game of the weekend are going to find something to be furious about with our combined XI of both sides.

United host Jurgen Klopp’s side at 12.30pm on Saturday in what everyone is referring to as ‘The Battle for Second Place’.

Second spot is in the hands of both teams now in that they can be guaranteed to finish directly behind Manchester City if they win every game between now and the end of the season.

The clash at Old Trafford brings about several questions.

Will Jose Mourinho park the bus at home? Can Liverpool’s free-scoring front three punish the Red Devils? Who makes JOE’s combined XI?

Well we can answer the final question, at least.

Goalkeeper

This was the easiest selection by far in that David De Gea is arguably the best goalkeeper in the world while Loris Karius has only recently nailed down the No. 1 spot for the Reds.

Defenders

Antonio Valencia gets the nod ahead of both Nathaniel Clyne and breakthrough right back Trent Alexander-Arnold due to his consistency over the past few years.

We’ve selected the best centre-half from each club in Eric Bailly, who does everything well at the back when fit for United, and Virgil van Dijk, who has wasted no time in justifying his £75 million price tag with his defensive prowess and incredible range of passing for a big man.

Andy Robertson has proven a lot of critics wrong after arriving from Hull last summer. He’s fought his way into the Liverpool first team and just pips Ashley Young to the post.

Midfielders

There’s no doubt that Valencia and Robertson would bomb up the flanks at every given opportunity in our hypothetical team and Nemanja Matic would be more than happy to chip in defensively in such scenarios. We also couldn’t leave him out immediately after his magical winner against Crystal Palace on Monday.

Emre Can suddenly finds himself the subject of interest from both Real Madrid and Juventus due to his composure in Liverpool’s midfield. The German is tremendously athletic and links up defence and attack brilliantly for Klopp.

With Matic and Can behind him, Paul Pogba would be afforded the creative freedom to join the attacking unit from his preferred spot on the left side of a three-man midfield.

Forwards

Mohamed Salah was the first name on this hypothetical teamsheet. He’s been an absolute revelation since signing from Roma and could well be named Player of the Year in his debut season at Anfield.

One of his two regular attacking partners joins him here as, on form, Sadio Mane is doing more than United’s Alexis Sanchez lately.

We toyed with the idea of going all Liverpool up top because there’s no denying the quality that Jurgen Klopp possesses in the attacking department but Romelu Lukaku has scored one goal more than Roberto Firmino in the league so far this season so he’s just edged this.